CVMA Certified Veterinary Assistant Schools Program


CVMA CVA School Program

The CVMA is pleased to now offer its Certified Veterinary Assistant (CVMA CVA) program to high schools, regional occupational programs and technical colleges. The CVMA established the CVMA CVA program in order to provide veterinary practitioners more qualified, more professional, more productive employees in the traditionally entry-level positions of the veterinary support staff. Initially offered as an in-hospital training program, but now CVMA CVA is also being offered by high schools, regional occupational programs, and technical colleges in partnership with veterinarians and RVTs who serve as mentors and program advisors.

The CVMA CVA program emphasizes basic training and skills in a variety of areas, including medical care, client communication and practice safety through online learning and experience in the practice.


The CVMA CVA Committee oversees the program. This online program was created uniquely for the CVMA by Animal Care Technologies (ACT).  Exam questions were written by CVMA committee RVT and DVM members and reviewed by the CVMA RVT Committee.

With the CVMA CVA program, participants increase their knowledge through four components: online education materials, practical experience, evaluation (skills assessments), and a written examination.

Education  Complete, with a passing grade, a minimum of nine months or two semesters of an approved high school or adult learning curriculum designed to prepare students for employment in the animal care industry.  Applicants are required to view more than 140 videos and documents. Participants learn medical terminology, breed identification, how to give medications, proper lifting and restraining techniques, how to safely handle chemicals – and a lot more.

Experience  Students will complete a minimum of 500 hours practical veterinary assisting experience, at least 250 hours with live animals in a hospital setting, up to 250 hours laboratory time. Student CVMA CVA applicants are required to gain practical, real-world experience and demonstrate competency in over 100 skills under the supervision of a California-licensed DVM or RVT.

Evaluation  Mentors will evaluate the applicant’s ability to accomplish 100 skills from these areas of the task list:

  • Communication and Client Relations
  • Office Procedures and Medical Terminology
  • Animal Identification
  • Animal Restraint
  • Safety Concerns and Cleanliness
  • Auxiliary Skills
  • Pharmacy and Pharmacology
  • Laboratory Procedures
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Veterinary Dentistry
  • Surgical Preparation and Assisting

Examination  To become certified for two years, upon completion of the experience and education components and verification of this by ACT, applicants must pass a certification exam.  The online exam consists of 100 randomly generated questions. The applicant will have a two-hour time limit to complete the exam and must score 75% or higher.

Maintaining CVMA CVA Certification  After becoming certified, CVMA CVA certificate holders may renew their certification by completing ten hours of continuing education from an approved provider list and pay a certificate renewal fee.

CVMA CVA Program General Requirements

  • Applicant must be 16 years of age or older.
  • Practice, in conjunction with the school must designate a California-licensed DVM or RVT mentor.
  • Renewal Program – 10 hours of continuing education units are required every two years after certification.

Program Fees The CVMA CVA program is affordable and efficient. For pricing and all other questions, schools can contact: Kyle Rodrigues Animal Care Technologies 800-357-3182, ext 206 940-220-0306 direct

CVMA Certified Veterinary Assistants will also have the opportunity to advance their knowledge even further with training in the CVMA CVA Level II program. They will learn the skills needed to increase their value as a member of the veterinary practice team even further! A student is eligible to take this test for the Level II course if they are a current CVMA CVA in good standing.

Give an opportunity to a student who needs a jump start into the animal care industry…..Become a Mentor   The CVMA recognizes that the experience gained from working under the leadership and expertise of a licensed veterinarian or registered veterinary technician is irreplaceable. When complemented with the ACT web based instruction, the student approaches each skill with a new sense of understanding and confidence. This relationship, between the Student and the Mentor is predicated on both parties understanding their roles and responsibilities. Become A Mentor / Student and Mentor Roles Veterinarians and technicians are needed to serve as mentors and program advisors. Mentors participate on their own terms and at their sole discretion. It is at the discretion of the DVM / RVT as to what they offer to a school program. From direct supervision of a student performing tasks in the hospital to providing equipment donations, school CVMA CVA programs need support from local veterinary practices.

If you are a CVMA member DVM or RVT and want to be involved in this program as a mentor, please reach out and contact high schools or ROP programs to help start this program in your area and contact Laura Phillips (800) 655-2862 at CVMA to express your interest in being a mentor so we can connect you to existing mentoring opportunities that are available and instructors who need assistance with the CVMA CVA program.

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